Indeed, efforts to make it easier for educated and enterprising foreigners to stay in the US generally enjoy bipartisan support in Washington. The complicated status of the immigration issue as a whole, though, has blocked any changes.
“The issue is pretty well understood,” said Steve Case, the founder of AOL and now head of the venture capital firm Revolution LLC. “But there is this skepticism around the politics of immigration.”
Thus the O-1 will probably remain a key channel for many immigrant entrepreneurs — and it does carry some additional side benefits.
British-born Scott Allison, cofounder of a software company called Teamly, was returning to the US earlier this month and enjoyed a rare welcome from customs officials after they caught a glimpse of his new O-1 visa.
“‘Wow, you must be really awesome,’” he recalls one commenting before waving him through. “I’m like, ‘Gee, thanks.’”